Dear Grandparenting: I have always been a dog person. I am also grandfather to a young grandson figuring out how to behave. I could call him hyperactive, but then again it may be youthful energy.
That brings us to my two dogs — my two older dogs. They feel like I do some days. We all get cranky. The dogs are not used to children floating in and out. So far, so good, but the boy will get more than he bargained for should he scare or bother the dogs.
My dogs are set in their ways and too old for new tricks. My grandson is not, so let’s go with him. How do I teach the boy a new trick, like how to behave around dogs?
I don’t want to be the one who gets up and takes the train to go visit them. It’s so much easier when the boy visits me. Travel is tough and getting tougher at my age, as you can surely understand. Carl Phillips, Wilmington, North Carolina
Dear Carl: Dogs were already America’s most popular pets before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the demand for dogs as companions to combat social isolation has reached record highs.
But man’s best friend packs a bite that sends well over 400,000 victims to hospitals annually, and a leading cause of childhood emergency rooms visits. Kids under four years old are at greatest risk.
Children are most likely to be bitten in the head, face or neck. Bitten or not, close encounters with aggressive dogs can produce enduring emotional trauma and scars. Plenty of adults know the feeling.
Dogs not “socialized” to the point where they feel comfortable around outsiders should be given a wide berth. Sudden movements and loud noises are normal behaviors for many youngsters, but highly bothersome stuff to old dogs. Some dogs simply have it in for children for their own set of reasons, and are easily triggered.
The situation is an accident waiting to happen. For the foreseeable future, trouble yourself to travel to your grandson’s house. Rest assured the dogs will be happier and the boy substantially safer.
Grand remark of the week
Joyce Wilmer from The Villages, Florida told granddaughter Serena that the girl’s new bicycle was made in China. “Everything is made in China,” said Joyce for emphasis. “No it’s not,” replied six-year-old Serena. “Everything is made at Amazon Prime.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.